Scottish Baps

Bap is the Scots word for a soft morning roll. It is also known as floury bap, a simple reference to its dusting of flour. The origin of the word is obscure. McNeill (1929) suggests an analogy with pap, the Scots word for the mammary gland, because of its shape and size. Their first identified mention is in account rolls of the sixteenth century, and there are several references in later printed sources, for example Alan Ramsay’s Tea-table Miscellany (1724-7). The word was a generic description (much as loaf is of bread), therefore the size and shape of baps has been extremely varied. A sharer’s or harvester’s bap, taken out into the fields at midday, was the size of a large meat plate (McNeill, 1929). Dean Ramsay’s Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character (1858) includes the question, Are ye for our burial baps round or square. Another source confirms the truth: The grandfather of the late Prime Minister of Great Britain [W.E. Gladstone] kept a shop in Leith Walk in Edinburgh, where he sold “baps”, flour, oatmeal, peas, etc., and where he was popularly known to the boys of the neighbour-hood as “Sma’ Baps”, because his baps were reputed to he smaller than those of his brother tradesmen.’ (Mackay, 1888)
Although softer in texture and crust, the bap fulfilled the same function for many Scots as the Glasgow roll (see below): it was used as an envelope for a filling. Baps are split in half through the middle and buttered rather than broken up to eat. MacClure (1955) describes his earliest (and best) recollection: ‘having it stuffed with Ayrshire bacon and a fried egg to eat while hastening to beat the hell for morning school… On these occasions it was still warm from the baker’s oven.
Here is my receipe…
2 tps of yeast (can cut down to only 1 tps)
3/4 cup of milk
3/4 cup of water
3 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tps salt
1 tbps sugar
1 tbps of lard (optional)
brain dead easy to make and I like the flour dusty rustic look.  Dump everything into bread machine and set to the dough mode and press start.  When the dough is done, divide the dough in 8 portions in a floury surface.  Shape the dough in oval and lay them on a floured cookie sheet.  Dust with flour on top and let the dough rise for 30 mins.  Preheat oven to 350F and dust the rolls again before baking.  bake for 15 to 20 mins
Cleanup is a breezy because nothing stick.  Just use paper towel to swip the flour out of the cookie sheet.


One thought on “Scottish Baps

  1. Thank you for the nice history of the Scottish bap and the word — I’ve made baps (love them!) but have had difficulty finding much in the way of historical information about them. This helps! And they are, indeed, superbly tasty with a fried egg and bacon. Yum!

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